Bredesen adopts more urgent tone about shortfall


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Phil Bredesen doesn't want his measured approach to worsening economic conditions in Tennessee to be confused with nonchalance.

In speeches and meetings with newspaper editorial boards last week, the Democratic governor began taking on a more urgent tone about the size of the tax revenue shortfall. He tells The Associated Press the state economy is in a "very extraordinary situation."

The governor expects the spending gap to widen to between $300 million and $600 million by the time the budget year ends in June. He acknowledges it could be worse than that.

Bredesen says he is looking into whether the state can save money from grant programs or contract services. He says any shortfall of more than $300 million will likely require legislative action or tapping state reserves.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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